Jays Go International, Sign Fuenmayor

With the international signing period nearing its close at the end of the month, the Blue Jays secured one of the top free agents still available, agreeing to terms with third baseman Balbino Fuenmayor out of the Venezuela.

One report out of Venezuela said Fuenmayor, who scouts say is approximately 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, had signed for $1.15 million. However, Blue Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde confirmed that the organization only was awaiting the paperwork to make the Fuenmayor signing official, though he would not comment on the bonus amount.

"We worked him out a few weeks ago though and it went well," Lalonde said via e-mail. (He has a) pretty nice frame for such a young guy; he should continue to fill out.

"Offensively, off of our look (in Toronto) I would put his hit (tool) ahead of his power at this stage. More line drives at this point. Hopefully the power will continue to develop as he matures physically, but he showed a fairly compact stroke with solid bat speed. The thing he did well for a young player is show the ability to drive the ball to right field."
Lalonde said Fuenmayor has enough hands and range for third base with an above-average arm, though he said Fuenmayor's accuracy needs to improve.

He earned his status as one of the top available international talents by showing a polished bat and power tools both offensively and with his throwing arm. Scouts with other organization have reported his actions at third base will need polish, however, for him to remain at the position.

The most prominent international prospect yet to sign remains Carlos Truinfel, a Dominican shortstop and Scott Boras Corporation client. Players who haven't turned 16 by the end of the month are not eligible to sign until next July 2.